This work will be included in the catalogue critique being prepared by the Wildenstein Institute from the François Daulte, Durand-Ruel, Venturi, Vollard and Wildenstein archives.
Ambroise Vollard, Paris (acquired from the artist)
Private Collection, Europe
Tokyo, Isetan Museum of Art & Kyoto, Municipal Museum, Renoir, 1979, no. 26, illustrated in color in the catalogue
Ambroise Vollard, Renoir, vol. I, Paris, 1918, no. 29, illustrated p. 8
Guy-Patrice & Michel Dauberville, Renoir, Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, pastels, dessins et aquarelles, 1858-1881, Paris, 2007, no. 280, illustrated p. 324 (as dating from circa 1880)
A leisurely Claude Monet and the stage actress Mme Henriette Henriot are the subjects of Renoir's plein-air composition of 1880. Renoir and Monet were considered the pillars of the Impressionist movement, and by 1880, the two artists were ready to leave the group officially and exhibit their work on their own. Renoir received numerous portrait commissions that year, resulting in his much-celebrated depictions of Mademoiselle Irene Cahen D'Anvers and the Grimprel children. The present composition, however, is a departure from Renoir's commercial pursuit and demonstrates the artist's pleasure for painting for its own sake. Selecting two of his friends as models, he sets the scene amidst a swirl of greens, blues and blacks, while using a pink ground to convey the effect of the golden afternoon light reflecting off the water.
It was not unusual for Renoir to seek out models among his friends and acquaintances. Mme Henriot, an actress from the Théatre de l'Odéon, appeared in several of the artist's paintings in the 1870s, most famously in the eponymous portrait that is now in the collection of the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. (Daulte no. 190).
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